China unveils five-year postal modernisation plan
China’s State Post Bureau launched a new “Five Year Plan” this week, seeking to upgrade the country’s postal infrastructure and transform service levels. At a meeting attended by officials including the heads of China Post, major express delivery companies and provincial postal services, as well as officials from industry associations, the Bureau’s director-general Ma Junsheng said on Monday that reforms would be brought in to accelerate the transformation of the sector, to build a modern postal industry.
He said a lot of national and local planning had gone into the strategy, reflecting current trends in the global postal sector and the need to adapt to current social and economic developments.
The Five-Year Plan would prove an important guiding document for the industry over the next five years, he said, laying out a system-wide programme of action.
“The plan should be well implemented to allow us to make good use of the postal sector to seize the strategic development opportunities,” he said.
The Postal Bureau chief added that if the Plan could be correctly implemented, it would leap-frog innovation and modernisation in the postal industry, encouraging adoption of efficient processes, use of advanced technology and “significantly improved” service levels.
Under the new Five-Year Plan, China’s postal administrations will be expected to improve business certainty and work for stronger postal companies while improving the universal access to postal services.
Supervision and management of the industry will also be strengthened, with the postal administrations working to develop their regulatory policies.
Provincial postal services and authorities will work to safeguard the universal service obligation and develop the express market, with an expansion of rural post offices.
Building up postal services and courier services in both urban and rural areas would be to the benefit of all, said Junsheng.
Postal infrastructure should be actively promoted within local urban and rural planning, Junsheng said, with local governments expected to seize opportunities to develop express logistics centers in major cities to coordinate a transport hub system between post offices, processing centers and other operational facilities.
The China State Post Bureau will also be working with the aviation industry to improve aspects of China’s air transport network.
China’s postal industry achieved a 16% year-on-year growth rate in 2010, with a 127.7 billion yuan total revenue – about 0.3% of China’s GDP. Express revenues grew by 20% year-on-year to 57.5bn yuan. While the country’s economic growth has been strong despite the global downturn, eyes are on the decline in mail volumes in the rest of the world, and the role of internet communications in affecting the postal sector.